ERROR: TOO MANY USER/GDI objects are being used..

Multi-tasking is a function of the computer.. Humans (to a certain degree) are not capable of multi-tasking. It was handed a "busted" verdict when a subject was made to drive while being on the phone on an interview on the show Mythbusters. The subject miserably failed. Studies have also disclosed that people manifest severe interference when performing even the simplest of jobs at the same time. But I'm not about to introduce you to a subject of debate though.

My computer performs the multi-tasking for me -- that is what it is designed for. Given that, I expect it to perform the tasks I otherwise would not be able to complete by myself. It is a pain if the computer's technical limitations limit that possibility. Please allow me to share the experience and how I was able to tweak it.

Apparently, Windows has an inherent limitation on the so-called "user objects" and "GDI objects". This has something to do with how the operating system handles resources on demand. To give you an idea how I discovered this, it is due to this error on one of the applications I use to multitask.

TOO MANY USER/GDI objects are being used by applications!

Initially, I thought this was due to exhausting the 4GB RAM installed in my notebook. So I got me an additional 4GB module to beef it up. And the result? It is still the same. I really can't complain about having more memory but this intrigued me to investigate further.

I found a post related to the USER and GDI objects and how it is tested. It showed that the limit set by default numbers to 10,000. Is that huge? It appears so. But you can hit that wall easily -- even on Windows 7!

In order to illustrate, you may scour the internet to download sysinternals "testlimit.exe" or its 64bit equivalent if you're running a 64bit system. See the output below.


The question then is, is it tweakable? I asked this same question and the short answer is "YES". It requires a registry hack though.

WARNING: Before you proceed any further, know that registry changes can potentially damage your computer system. I will not be held accountable and responsible for the outcome of this hack.

Now that you have been warned, the registry key is found in this branch: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows. The keys are "GDIProcessHandleQuota" and "USERProcessHandleQuota". These keys are set to their default value of "2710" (hexadecimal). This 2710 translates to 10,000 in native decimal form.

In my system, I changed these keys to 8000 (hexadecimal) or 32768 in human readable numeric terms. The testlimit output follows below.


After the above tweaks in the registry, I have not encountered the same error in the past several weeks.

Further checks to the value of these keys indicate that the theoretical maximum is 10,000 (hexadecimal) or 65536 with huge, bold font warnings about hitting maximum may cause system instability. However, I have proven to myself that the value I set above works for me. Your mileage may vary.

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